You’d be hard-pressed to best Brett Brochu’s rookie season.
Debuting with the London Knights in 2019-20, the budding goaltender took command of the crease and the starting duties as a freshman before ultimately closing out the year with 32 wins to mark the most victories by a 16- or 17-year-old first-year netminder in league history.
Sporting a .919 save percentage with a 2.40 goals-against average, Brochu also topped the charts in both categories among goaltenders who made at least 40 appearances, helping him earn a spot on the 2019-20 OHL First All-Rookie Team.
Originally chosen in the sixth round of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, Brochu is now considered one of the most intriguing prospects amongst his class for the upcoming NHL Draft, projecting as a mid-round selection per NHL Central Scouting.
The Tilbury, Ont., native reflected on his rookie season, shared how he is preparing for the 2021 NHL Draft, and more in the latest edition of the CHL Sunday Spotlight presented by WINMAR:
What drew you to goaltending as a young athlete?
I was drawn to playing goalie growing up because my brother started off playing net. When I was playing road hockey with my cousins, I would always get thrown in as goalie because I was one of the youngest. It took off from there and I fell in love with it.
What do you attribute to your successful OHL rookie season?
The main attributes for my successful season last year were trusting the process, having a good work ethic on and off the ice, and then just doing the right things so that when it comes to game time, you are prepared and confident in your capability.
Who is the most challenging shooter you have faced in the OHL?
I would say that the most challenging player that I faced last year would be Connor McMichael. Even though I never played against him, I practiced every day with him and I saw how good his shot was and how hard his release was to read.
How are you preparing for the upcoming NHL Draft?
For the upcoming NHL Draft, it is a little bit more difficult for me to prepare for since there was no OHL season, but I got lucky enough in getting an opportunity in the AHL with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. I have been training here for the last three-and-a-half months and learning from the pros and the best trainers around. I have been taking advantage of this opportunity.
Which NHL goaltender do you model your playing style after?
The goalie in the NHL who I model my game after the most is probably Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators. I love the way he plays, how talented he is, and the way that he handles himself. That being said, I like watching a lot of the goalies in the NHL, like Marc-Andre Fleury, and learning off of a lot of different goalies because everyone plays different and everyone has their own style. But, Saros is definitely my favourite and who I like to watch and model my game after.